Monthly Archives: June 2011

The journey through life, one radio station at a time

Radio stations may often serve as background audio but our choice of station is often read as an indicator of our stage in life. The formative years are intimately associated with Radio 1, whereas Radio 4 is often portrayed as a middle-aged and full of dreary domesticity – albeit almost exclusively by those who don’t listen to the station.

These days I’d comfortably pledge my allegiance to 6music. As a station, it speaks to me and where I am now, while indulging in shared culture I can relate to. 6music’s core audience is, I imagine, around mid-20s to mid-40s, and its presenter line-up is full of names the audience grew up with, including the likes of Adam and Joe, Marc Riley, Stuart Marconie, Mark Radcliffe, Cerys Matthews, Craig Charles, and others. The music on 6music evokes delight, surprise and serendipity, all in a way that’s somehow attuned to my musical tastes. It is the farthest cry possible from the dismal repetition of commercial radio, which I choose to avoid at all costs.

Although I struggle to define the demographic, I suspect 6music is expertly speaking to a group that I happen to neatly fit into. It’s perhaps for those who have cast aside self-consciously following the trends of the latest hot indie bands that defined our university years and have moved on to wanting new musical discoveries, but now entirely comfortable in our own musical tastes.

The strange thing is that this progression is often one that’s done unconsciously. I only realised that I’d mentally moved on from listening to Radio 1 while on car journeys where I found myself feeling entirely out of touch with the music and callers on the air. Was I ever in the position of those Radio 1 listeners with the radio on revising for some exam? At one time, yes, but it seems a far cry and thoroughly distant from my life today.

And so, without seeking to be defined, I have, I suspect, made the move from one demographic group to the next; one of several I’ll likely make during my lifetime. Yes, radio may only be background audio, but it’s someone we choose deliberately and it continues to say something about us.

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Queen’s Birthday flypast at RAF Halton

WWII aircraft at RAF Halton's Charity Flying Weekend

The Queen’s official birthday is celebrated by trooping the colour and a flypast by the RAF in central London. If the idea of the tourists crowds don’t appeal, it’s happily possible to watch the flypast from the comfort and attractive surrounds of Buckinghamshire.

RAF Halton holds a Charity Flying Weekend each year to coincide with the trooping the colour flypast, and welcomes visitors to what is normally a military aerodrome.

The 2011 event was held in conjunction with the Chilterns MS Centre, who held their Summer Fete, and the Berkhamsted-based De Havilland Moth Club, who had arranged various flying displays.

We arrived shortly after midday, so in good time for the flypast at around 1pm. We were struck by just how popular it was, given that we’d only heard about it through having come across photos of the previous year’s events and looked up the 2011 dates. The parking area was filling up quickly with hundreds of cars, although still had room enough for us.

Spectactors at RAF Halton watch Battle of Britain Memorial Flight approach

We had no idea what to expect, however there was a good selection of stalls – many in military green tents that were rather in keeping with the event. Arts and crafts, traditional fete games (Tara won a coconut from the coconut shy), and the usual food and drink were all there, so everything you’d need. Many visitors had also come well prepared though with some impressive picnics, table and chairs in evidence. Well prepared to enjoy the day.

Turning towards the aircraft, the inter-war De Havilland Moths were much in evidence, with much to-ing and fro-ing. A nice selection of WWII aircraft were also on the ground. The main event was the flypast – which included most but not all of the formations seen flying down the Mall a few minutes earlier. While the Red Arrows went elsewhere, we saw the fast jets, transporters, hawker jets and the always superb Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which gave us three fabulous passes.

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This week in corporate Twitter – the good, the bad and the absent

It’s been an eventful week, and one that’s seen Twitter used brilliantly in some cases – and rather less well in others.

The good: the Chiltern cow incident

A Chiltern Railways (CR) train hit a herd of cows that had escaped on to the track at around 7.30pm on Thursday – mid evening, but still well within London’s extended rush hour. Their main line was closed but CR’s consistently excellent communications team stepped up the mark to help inform the large numbers of passengers facing disruption. CR do Twitter well – really well in fact. By day their tweets are friendly, engaging and create a real community spirit amongst commuters and travellers. However when events call for it, CR’s twitter team is in place to get vital information out and be there to respond to customers’ questions.

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The Artichoke revisited

We first visited the Artichoke restaurant in Amersham a year ago, when we were struck by the very high quality of the cuisine and service. On something of a whim, we decided this half-term that it was high time to try it out again. In particular, we had heard that the Artichoke had recently expanded its premises into the adjacent building, and we were keen to see how this had changed the restaurant.

The Artichoke’s website offers three dining areas within the newly expanded restaurant: The Kitchen Dining Room with views of the restaurant’s kitchen, the Garden Dining Room with a kitchen garden theme and a Wine Room, upstairs. Having recently been engaged by recent Masterchef and Great British Menu TV series, we were keen to see the chefs at work, and requested a table in the Kitchen Dining Room.

On entering the Artichoke, you’re immediately aware that you’re not in any old restaurant. The service is elegant while being extremely slick. To our delight we’d be given the table right in front of the kitchen area, so prime views of the chefs were on hand. Within moments the chef himself arrived and greeted us personally – a lovely additional touch.

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